Dan came to his first social club two years ago and in our latest blog he shares how getting involved with South London Cares and meeting his older neighbours has helped him feel more connected.
A couple of years ago, after a seemingly endless stream of negativity in the news, I decided it was time to try and redress the balance in some way, however small, so I started looking around for potential places to volunteer. After some searching I came across South London Cares. Their work appealed to me because, like most people, I have elderly relatives that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like and I know how isolating the modern world can be for them, so the cause was close to my heart.
After a short induction I started volunteering at various social clubs, focusing in particular on the ones that involved zero dancing or singing on my part. There I met a host of colourful and diverse characters of all ages, doing a range of activities. There was Tony, an art-loving historian and poet and Frances, who’s in her 90s, but has more joie de vivre – and dresses better – than most 25 year olds I know. Each social club was a chance to spend some time with people I maybe wouldn’t normally get to talk to and with that came the realisation that, despite our age difference, we often had a lot more in common than I would have ever thought.
I have a lot of great memories from South London Cares social clubs but I think my favourite times are probably at Quiz Club. The atmosphere is always jovial but the will to win is evident, and watching as the host Morgan attempts to restore order after a particularly controversial point ruling is always a thing to behold. Anyone who thinks you lose your competitive drive as you get older has obviously never attended a South London Cares quiz night!
After a couple of years of attending social clubs one of the things I’ve noticed isn’t just how much good it does for my older neighbours who attend, although that’s evident to see, but how much good it’s done me.
I’m self-employed and work from home a lot, and having an excuse to meet and socialise with new people, regardless of their age, has undoubtedly made me happier. Loneliness and isolation in the modern world is not an issue that solely impacts the elderly in our society, it’s something that can affect us all and volunteering with South London Cares can and will do you as much good as anyone else.
Posted by Dan Pomlett on Monday 10th September 2018
Dan is a graphic designer and has been volunteering with South London Cares since September 2016.